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BREAD (Beetroot, Carrot & Fennel seed, Cheese & onion, Parsnip & Nutmeg, Tomato & Basil, Winter Squash, Courgette)

Many bread making machines are lying lurking at the back of kitchen cupboards, when they could be pressed into service to bake bread. While the machines probably came with recipes for the more standard types of bread, they can also be used to make some more unusual types of bread using some of the fruit and vegetables that will be found on the typical allotment.

My bread recipes will make a small loaf, and for larger sizes, just increase the quantities pro rata. The method should be as generally described in your machine instruction booklet. As vegetables contain a lot of fibre, the resulting loaf has a more dense consistency than the typical loaf made only from bread flour. You can use either all strong white bread flour, all strong brown bread flour or half and half. Your choice.

The amount of added liquid must be adjusted to take into account of the large amount of water contained in most fruit and vegetables. For instance, even though carrots may not appear to have much water in them, you will find that once they have been grated and added to the flour in the machine, the moisture in them will be extracted by the churning motion of the blade in the kneading process. A good starting point would be to cut the usual quantity of added liquid, by half. In the light of experience, and if the dough is too dry, you can make further adjustment to the amount of added water.

Traditional hand bread making methods can be used, for those who do not have a bread making machine to hand. Just adjust the quantities as discussed above.

Breads made with flour, oil, sugar or honey, water, yeast, with added vegetables

Beetroot bread

This makes a rather unusual coloured bread. Cook the beetroot, remove the skin and allow to cool. Add 1 cup of the grated beetroot to your usual bread ingredients and reduce the added water to compensate for the moisture contained in the beetroot.

Carrot and Fennel Seed bread.

The carrot gives a subtle flavour and sweetness as well as a yellow colour to the bread. The fennel seeds should be ground before adding to the mixture.

Add 1 cup of grated carrot to the usual bread ingredients, but with reduced liquid. 1 tsp of ground, dried fennel seeds should be added. You can collect your own herb fennel seeds at the end of the growing season in October.

Cheese and Onion bread.

Finely chop 1 onion or 3 shallots and gently fry in vegetable oil until golden, and allow to cool. Grate 1 cup of cheese. To the usual bread base ingredients, add the onions, ¾ of the grated cheese, 1 tsp of mustard and a grind of pepper. When the bread maker has knocked back the dough after the first period of rising, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and let the machine continue.

If you like garlic, you could add a grated clove of garlic to the ingredients.

Parsnip bread with Nutmeg.

Parsnips are naturally sweet and with the nutmeg give an aromatic bread.

Add 1 cup of grated or cooked parsnip, together with 1 tsp of grated nutmeg, to the standard bread mixture. You can replace the sugar with honey or malt extract.

Tomato and Basil bread.

This is an ideal way to use some of your overripe tomatoes in the Autumn, to make a savoury bread.

Chop up enough tomatoes to give you the same volume of chopped tomatoes and juice, as the total volume of liquid given in your recipe. Add several torn up fresh basil leaves, or 1 tsp of dried basil leaves. Add 1 squirt of tomato ketchup and 1 shake of Worcester Sauce. The rest of the ingredients should be the same as given in your bread machine recipe.

You can also add several spoons of stoned olives, to taste, towards the end after the last mixing. Just push the olives into the dough and this way, they retain their shape and are not broken up by the blades.

Winter squash bread.

This makes a sweet, golden yellow bread.

Add 1 cup of cooked winter squash flesh to 3 cups white flour. Replace the tbsp sugar with malt extract or honey.

Optional extra ingredients could include a handful of cut up pieces of dried fruit, walnuts, 1 tsp of nutmeg or mace.

Courgette  bread.

Add 1 cup of grated courgette to your usual bread recipe and cut the amount of added liquid by half. It makes a moist, soft loaf. You could add other flavourings such as nutmeg or mace. Try it and see what you like.